James Rada Jr.
(12/1) Carroll Valley Borough recently advertised that its tax rate for 2010 will remain the same at 8 mils. However, within that budget, borough officials have had to do a lot cutting and juggling to maintain a balanced budget.
"Therefore, the effect of the lessening economic downturn on the local economy; and the impact of the state decisions (or non-action) on the community and Borough government, dictated that the Borough approach this next year's budget with the same cautious, fiscally conservative, and "business smart" approach that a
municipal government of limited means must pursue in good, or in bad times," Borough Manager Dave Hazlett.
The budget projects slow growth in property tax revenues, a continuing reduction in admissions tax revenue, higher fuel costs, little or no new construction and a reduction in state funding. The total effect is that the borough's revenues are down 4.69 percent to $1,653,017.
"Early in the recession, the Borough saw a drop in new home construction permits, but saw increasing repairs/remodeling permits. However, in 2009 permit issuance of all types have dropped well below averages," Hazlett wrote.
To keep the budget balanced, borough officials had to reduce their expenditures by 4.06 percent overall, though certain line items are increasing.
"The increases in fuel/utilities have had a compounded effect through-out this budget. Most obviously, fuel costs to keep the Borough vehicles running has skyrocketed compared to 3 years ago," Hazlett wrote.
Though electricity won't be deregulated until next year, costs have already begun rising. Like fuel, this has a ripple effect across the budget.
Though individuals may wonder sometimes why the borough budget is so tight when they have to pay so much in property taxes, the borough only spends a small portion of property taxes it collects on borough needs. The Fairfield Area School District receives 65 percent of Carroll Valley's property taxes and Adams County
receives 23 percent. This leaves only 12 percent of the property tax revenues for Carroll Valley to spend on running the borough.
If approved during the December borough meeting, the budget will go into effect in January 2010. You can see a copy of the budget yourself at www.carrollvalley.org.